Gaston Caperton, a former two-term governor of West Virginia, is the eighth president of the College Board, a not-for-profit membership association founded in 1900 that consists of 5,000 of the nation's leading schools, colleges, and universities. Among its best-known programs are the Advanced Placement Program® (AP®) and the SAT®.
Since his appointment in 1999, Caperton has transformed the College Board into a resolutely mission-driven, values-oriented organization that takes bold steps to connect greater numbers of students to college success and opportunity while raising educational standards. In his successful effort to expand equity within programs that foster academic excellence, he has more than doubled the size of the College Board's staff, modernized its management structure, and established collegeboard.com, the nation's predominant comprehensive Web site serving nearly 4 million students a year as they plan their paths to college.
Question: How would you advise Secretary of Education Arne Duncan?
Caperton: I don't know Arne Duncan, but I’m a great admirer of his from a distance because I’ve seen the work that he’s done in Chicago, and he’s done an outstanding job. The most important work we had to do is to get more and more students interested in going to college and really maximizing their own human potential, and he’s done a good job at doing that. It’s the low income minority student that is being left out of this process, and if there’s anything we learned in this presidential election and why I think millions of people stood in cold weather to watch it is that that the belief that all men are created equal is inborn in us, and we knew we weren’t really letting that happen. So, I think that we’ve really got to get those students who are not engaged, who are not doing well, who are not going to college after high school and are not really, too many are not really getting the education they need starting in preschool. We’ve got to do much better at early ages, engaging young people. So, I think this is a man who has shown by his life work that he knows what needs to be done. I think he’s a good leader, and I think he’ll do a superb job.
Question: What will education in America look like in four years?
Caperton: My dream and my hope is that more and more students and families take education as an opportunity, that they recognize that… that they recognize the example of this president who has been successful because he was a student, who is a person who didn’t let anything get in his way to climbing to be the president of the United States, the most important job in our society. And it was education that inspired him to be and do and be able to do what he does. So, I believe that there will be a… And I know he’s going to say that, and I think he delivers that message in a powerful way. So, I think that the motivation and the commitment that this administration will have will empower and inspire students to, and their parents to be more interested in what they’re doing, and that’s critical to the future.